Cool Tech Reviews

Just Cool Tech

June 15, 2006

Second time’s the charm for iriver Clix

First there was the iriver PMC-120 portable media center which attracted yawns, now there is the iriver Clix with Windows Media Player (WMP) 11 and the Microsoft-MTV URGE music service and it’s attracting plaudits:

CNET (Editor’s choice):

The iRiver Clix is a superbly designed MP3 player that’s easy to use and packed with pretty much every feature in the book. If you’re looking for a stylish Janus-compatible device and you don’t need a boatload of storage, this is your player.

PC Magazine (who did find the click screen a trifle odd):

The Clix is a nice player that offers very good audio and photo quality, long battery life, and a host of extras.

Anything But iPod explains:

Here is a video of the interface. It is rough and uncut, but it is to give you an idea of how smooth the interface operates.

Almost all of the navigation is handled by tactile buttons located behind each of the screen’s sides. This navigation works well with two hands while the screen is orientated in the horizontal position but also works great with one hand in the vertical position. Dedicated volume buttons are located at the top, with a hold switch on the bottom, as well as power and menu buttons on the right side. The menu button lets you exit from the games and can be programmed for different functions while browsing your media.

Their conclusion:

If you are shopping for a high capacity flash player you must consider the iRiver Clix for its comfortable eye pleasing user interface and typical but well done feature set.

But they do note that you are pretty well locked in to using Windows Media Player.

Finally, Microsoft’s Sean Alexander, who worked with iriver during development, also has a great video showing the out-of-box experience.

Looks like the iriver Clix is definitely worth a look.

Posted at 1:58 pm. Filed under Apple, Brands, Companies, iPod, iriver, Microsoft, MP3 Player, Portable Audio, Portable Video

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December 21, 2005

What about Portable Media Centers?

Microsoft News Tracker mentions a rumor that Microsoft is planning to build their own iPod or more precisely, an “iPod killer.” Aside from the advisability of Microsoft going head to head with Apple in the portable media player arena, it would also seem to create difficulties for Microsoft partners Creative, Samsung, and iriver who have built players based on Windows Mobile using Microsoft’s Portable Media Center specification.

Since you don’t seem to hear much about Portable Media Centers, I thought I would see what I could dig up. Below are the three contenders with some typical reviews and they are apparently nice players with big screens and easy to use, if somewhat bulky and expensive. However, they have a major negative. All of the Portable Media Centers are effectively accessories for Windows PC’s running Windows Media Player (WMP) 10, because that’s the only way to get media files onto them. And if you don’t have a PC running Windows XP Media Center Edition (or at least a PC with a TV tuner/recorder), you are limited to whatever video content you can obtain or purchase through the services offered within WMP 10. Because of this, they haven’t been a rousing success.

Creative Zen Portable Media Center

- Generally most highly rated
- Retail about $485
- Reviews at CNET, Engadget, and PCWorld

Samsung Yepp YH-999 Portable Media Center

- Seems to have been discontinued
- Available refurbished for about $275
- Reviews at CNET and WhiningDog

iriver PMC-120

- Retail price: about $440
- Reviews at CNET, PC Magazine, and Trusted Reviews

As always, you may find lower prices at your favorite online or offline emporium.

Posted at 9:57 pm. Filed under Apple, Brands, Companies, Creative, iPod, iriver, Media Center PC, Microsoft, Portable Audio, Portable Media Center, Portable Video, Samsung, Windows Mobile

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December 2, 2005

List of sites with free videos for your iPod

I’m still dubious about watching much video on the small iPod screen, but a number of Internet sites are now trumpeting their free iPod videos so I thought it would be worthwhile to round up a list:

FLiXPO – “The Internet’s largest collection of free iPod and PSP downloads.” Commercials, trailers, humor, animals, and much more. There’s a “How-to” here. (Via Derrick Story.)

Mefeedia – Aggregator for 1000′s of video podcasts. “Mefeedia works seamlessly with Apple’s iTunes and Sony’s PSP Media Manager Software – you subscribe to your personal queue of videos, and whenever a videoblogger that you are subscribed to publishes a new video, it is automatically sent to your computer.”

LearnOutLoud – free video lectures, audiobooks, historial speeches

Veoh Networks – 3,000 videos from Veoh’s Internet TV Network which “allows anyone with a computer and an Internet connection to broadcast their own TV show, or channel of shows, in full-screen television quality.” Network content ranges from “from original cartoons, like Superman and Popeye, to comedies like The Three Stooges, feature-length films, and more than 10,000 user-produced videos on every subject imaginable.” Note: requires installation of a P2P client.

iPod Gym – Exercise videos

Finally, if you already have your own video and want to convert it for the iPod, there’s the free Videora iPod Converter.

Posted at 10:18 pm. Filed under Apple, Brands, Companies, iPod, Portable Video

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